What implications does the HS2 railway network have on jobs for the construction industry?
There are some construction projects that have an impact that is much broader than simply the completion of a set of objectives. HS2 is one of those projects. This huge and costly revamp of rail services between London and the West Midlands is going to deliver a wide range of benefits for the economy, as well as significant advantages for those who regularly use its routes. But what about the potential impact that it could have on jobs for the construction sector?
30,000 jobs in total
HS2 has already started to fulfill the role of job generation for the construction and engineering sectors in the UK. Currently, more than 7,000 roles have been created to support the initial phases of the project. According to the HS2 Chief Executive, the project will “create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which will boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally.” So far this is a promise that HS2 seems to be delivering on with a total of 30,000 jobs forecast to be created by 2020.
Nurturing the next generation
It’s not just in providing employment for existing members of the construction and engineering sectors that the HS2 has a pivotal role to play. The project will also be responsible for the creation of 2,000 apprenticeships – the National College for High Speed Rail at Eastside opened its doors to the first wave of apprentices in 2018 – and there is also a graduate scheme designed for those who have just finished university. These opportunities will make it much easier for young people who have been inspired by projects like this to take action to find a role that enables them to use that newfound enthusiasm and start learning the right skills.
Construction sector jobs around the country
Many construction projects in the UK provide employment benefits exclusively to London. It’s often London businesses that are used in the supply chain even if parts of the project are being carried out in other areas. That’s no so with the HS2 project, which has been carefully set up to also benefit construction businesses in other areas of the country, especially those that the railway network itself passes through.
Tackling the skills challenges of the sector
With its high profile and ambitious targets and design, HS2 will also help to tackle the skills shortages that sectors such as construction currently face. This is not only true with respect to breaking down recruitment obstacles but also in terms of illustrating how the UK has a talent pool that is more than capable of delivering on this kind of iconic construction, now and in the future.
Supporting construction sector businesses in growth
Work generated by the HS2 contracts will enable existing construction sector businesses to expand and create more jobs. For example, contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI has already started to recruit staff for its role in the project, including quantity surveyors and project managers.
The implications of HS2 for jobs in the construction industry are predominantly positive – if expectations are met, the project could make a big difference.
At RG Group we’re always interested in projects that could positively benefit the construction sector, such as the hugely ambitious HS2 railway network. Call our team today on 01732 526 850 to discuss your upcoming project.